Environment Minister to submit a Cabinet paper to ban 08 other items harmful to the environment
Sat, Aug 7, 2021, 07:43 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Aug 07, Colombo: Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera, said that a Cabinet paper will be submitted in the future to ban 08 other items that are harmful to the environment.
Addressing the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Environment in Parliament on Thursday (05), the Minister said these include polythene bags, plastic hopper holders, plastic dishes, plastic cups and plastic spoons.
Furthermore, Minister of Environment said the law banning lunch sheets will be strictly enforced with effect from the 01st of September. He instructed the officers to increase the number of raids with regard to the ban.
Member of Parliament Madhura Withanage pointed out at the committee meeting that many environmental problems are arising in the society due to the improper disposal of the masks used in connection with the current COVID 19 pandemic.
The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has informed the Committee that a guideline on the proper disposal of masks has been introduced and has been submitted to the Ministry of Health for approval.
The Chairman of the Committee, the Minister also acknowledged that the public should be more careful when disposing of masks.
The Secretary of Environment Dr. Anil Jasinghe stated that Local Government Institutions have a great responsibility in this regard.
The Committee paid special attention to the unauthorized construction of a hotel along the Mahaweli River in the Gannoruwa area. Parliamentarian Wasantha Yapa Bandara stated that this has been constructed by a powerful businessman in the area and as a result many environmental problems have been created. He further stated that the failure of the relevant institutions to take appropriate action in this regard is also a serious problem.
The Committee recommended that a special discussion be held on this matter expeditiously and that it be appropriate to conduct an observation tour of the site.
There are many unauthorized constructions on both sides of the Mahaweli River and special attention should be paid to remove them, said MP Yapa Bandara. He further stated that unauthorized constructions were often carried out on long weekends and the legal provisions available to local authorities to stop them were minimal.
The Chairman of the Committee also instructed the officials to pay special attention matters as such while amending the Environment Act.
The damage caused by the creation of islands along the Mahaweli River due to human activities are quite significant, Hon. Parliamentarian further pointed out at the committee meeting.
The Chairman of the Committee Minister Amaraweera stated that a special program under the ‘Surakimu Ganga’ National Program to protect 103 rivers throughout the country has already been launched on the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Accordingly, the marking of the Kelani River reserve has already commenced, he said.
The need to conduct an environmental audit covering all major cities in the country was also discussed at the Committee meeting.
Members of Parliament Gunathilaka Rajapaksha, Amarakeerthi Athukorala, Kins Nelson, Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Upul Mahendra Rajapaksha and a number of government officials were present at this committee meeting.